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Cervical Cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. Although it can be successfully treated if discovered early, it has the potential to spread to the vagina and other deep tissue layers of the uterus. Due to its potentially deadly effects, it is important that women understand the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer and what can be done to treat the disease.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer include abnormal bleeding, unexplained changes in menstrual cycle, bleeding when contact is experienced with the cervix, or pain during sex. Advanced stages of the disease can include symptoms such as anemia, ongoing pain, urinary problems, urinary leakage, or weight loss. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms it is important to seek medical attention immediately to undergo a Pap test and have your symptoms diagnosed.

In testing for cancer, there is always the potential for false positives and negatives. False negatives are less likely for women age 30 and over if they undergo a Pap and HPV co-test, recommended for all those who show signs or symptoms of cancer development. Although medical professionals can determine and reduce a patient’s risk, screening is not always completely accurate. A patient may be told they have abnormal cells when they in fact do not (a false-positive), so follow up tests and specialists should be consulted before any treatment.

Treatment for Cervical Cancer includes Surgery, Chemotherapy, and Radiation Therapy. Surgery is performed in an attempt to remove the cancer, and is dependent on the location and development of the disease. Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells and is typically performed after a hysterectomy along with Radiation therapy. The type and extent of treatment is dependent on the patient’s health and the extent of cancer development.

The National Cancer Institute provides literature for individuals to educate themselves on the symptoms and treatments of cervical cancer. Staying informed is the first step towards staying health.

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